A September 2002 trip
to Lancaster by milliebell
Quote: I lived in Lancaster between September 1998 and August 2002. It is not a hot tourist destination, but there are thousands of students, including hundreds of international students here every year. I thought it may therefore be able to help someone!
If, like me, you are not a heavy drinker or a hardened party animal, the Lake District is close by and the canal is great for quiet, rural walking. There are buses and trains to the major towns of the Lake District. Manchester is close by.
In the City itself, the castle and surrounding park is well worth a visit.
Shopping is fairly good. There is a wide range of high street stores, and there are also some wonderful and reasonably-priced gift shops. The much-publicised market is severly overrated; it consists of a few stalls. Asda is the cheapest supermarket, but it is a long trek out of town. Kwik save or Sainsburys are central. Right Choice on Bowerham road is great for its special offers!
Eating out here can be cheap. Almost all restaurants offer lunchtime specials and happy hours.
Internet access is free for students at the colleges. Otherwise Lancaster City Library offers access for non- members, but it is very expensive!
If you're looking for a day out in the lake district, get a Cumberland explorer. It's £7 and allows unlimited travel for a day on most services throughout the lake district. You can get it from drivers on the 555 Lakeslink bus service. Travellers Choice run a wide range of day excursions throughout the year, to tourist attractions, cities, and also escorted area tours. Ask at the tourist information centre for a brochure.
Most rooms have their own washbasin. Toilets, showers and baths are shared. Bedding is provided. Security is good to get into the halls. Some of the halls have a lounge area, others do not.
Meals arrangements vary. You can have the room only or bed and breakfast. If you do go for breakfast, it is quite a good meal. Vegetarian options are always available. If your self catering, each hall or flat has a small kitchen area for making snacks or light meals. Don't plan on making a gourmet meal though. In addition, there are several shops and takeaways close by.
It is about a 10 minute walk from the town centre. Bus number 2, 2A and 4 runs frequently during the day, less often on Sundays and evenings. Go through the gate and walk up the path known as Bishops walk. The reception area is at the top of the hill, and open 24 hours. This is where you collect your key. If your driving the main car park is close to reception.
I know this place well. If you arrive particularly early or late in the term there may still be a few students around and college facilities available. Juniors coffee bar is a good option for meals, but it is likely to be closed late July to early September. You need to be a student here to access computer facilites or take out library books, though you can read. There are extensive sports facilities on site, for which you can buy a guest pass. No swimming pool however. The St. Martin's campus is very pleasant, with lots of greenery. It is especially beautiful in the summer and autumn.
I have stayed here once for a short period over the summer, and I was a resident student here for a year. This is the cheapest it gets for a single room in Lancaster. Best of all, no single supplement! It can be a bit spooky and isolated when its out of term time. During term time the place is always full of people.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 17, 2002
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 3, 2002
Whilst short term accommodation is very expensive, it is quite cheap if you can stay around for a few months. Rents are low. Rooms are widely available, for students or non students. You should be able to find one quite quickly. However, they are rarely available on short term leases.
For working travellers or students, employment is either incredibly hard to get or incredibly easy. It depends on what you are looking for. During term time, part time and casual unskilled jobs can be found quickly and easily. There are numerous positions as waiter/esses, bar staff, cleaners, kitchen assistants, call centre workers etc. All are low paid and have a high staff turnover, meaning that there are vacancies everywhere. This is an excellent place for travellers to supplement their trip funds. In addition, all of that evening and weekend work means that you will save money instead of spending it on socializing! Many of these jobs are paid cash in hand. However, there are few full time jobs.
EU students can work freely. Other international students are not supposed to work on their visas, but some do manage to get work off the record and cash in hand.
The high student population sometimes leads to tension in the town. The resident population is far lower. The town is geared to the interests of young people and student needs, but sometimes to the expense of other residents needs. Some resident hostility is justified as student behaviour sometimes is very inconsiderate of others. The majority of students are fine.
If your not a student, you can still take advantage of the student orientated facilities in most cases. Restaurants and bars almost never ask for student ID, so you can still enjoy the happy hours and drinks specials. Nightclubs are a different matter. Student nights involve either cheap or free entry, and cheaper drinks than usual. You will need to produce student ID at the door normally. When shopping, many shops offer student discounts. You will need to show a card when you make your purchase.
Student ID cards are very easy to get hold of, even if not a student. I would recommend one if your travelling around the UK. Sometimes just visiting a campus travel agent is enough. Or, try signing up for a part time or evening course, which provides the registration.
Lancaster is no more dangerous than anywhere else. If your alone, avoid the Millenium Bridge at night. There has been a spate of muggings in that area recently. During the day it is fine and always busy with lots of people. Lone females should take care in the Moor Lane area late at night. Last year several women were raped around there. The rapist has never been caught, but there have been no reports of attacks for a year or so. However, I would advise lone females in that area to return home by taxi if it is very late at night. On Thursday to Saturday evenings, from 11pm onwards the town is full of drunks. I don't like being there alone at that time (I am female), though some people are not bothered. Most of them are more irritating than dangerous. Fights can occur quite easily, fuelled by large amounts of cheap alcohol. By all means join the rest of the party revellers, but take care to stay safe with it.
Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom